Every once in a while a captivating piece of historical information is uncovered, but time has often taken its toll and that information is lost to time itself. The hours and dedication required to restore its glory frequently means these items never reveal themselves to subsequent generations, but with a race as magical as the Tour de France comes passionate people dedicated to bringing history alive.
That’s exactly what has happened with the story of the 1930 Tour de France – now being re-told through a series of limited edition prints. Australian organisation The Cycling History Collection has just launched a range of 15 images from the year Frenchman Andre Leducq beat Italian Learco Guerra to the Tour title.
The series of images is a reminder of just how popular the Tour was, even in those early years, with thousands of people lining the streets when the only way to see the event was being there. Moments captured include Alfredo Binda’s Tour debut, breakaways on the famed 2556m Galibier in the Alps, Charles Pelissier on his way to an amazing eight stage victories and the aftermath of Leonida Frascarelli crashing out of the race.
Leonida Frascarelli, team-mate to second overall Learco Guerra and dual stage winner Alfredo Binda, abandoned on stage seven from Bordeaux to Hendaye after a fall.
Not only are the images an amazing piece of history, but also the story behind them. The collection has been brought back to life after a group - led by six-time Tour rider Stephen Hodge - purchased the original lanterns from an auction of Sir Hubert Opperman’s estate in 2004.
“We believe that Hubert Opperman, who rode the 1928 and 1931 editions of the Tour, used these lanterns for showing in town hall meetings that would have helped him raise the money to fund the Australian team to the 1931 event,” reveals Hodge.
Stage 9 - Col du Tourmalet: Two riders were alone on the two major climbs, Benoit Faure - who won the KOM on both the Aubisque and Tourmalet - and André Leducq, both believed to be pictured here on Tourmalet.
A further eight images that were retrievable from the batch of 41 purchased are expected to be released at a later date. Starting at $AU295 for unframed copies, the collection is limited to 250 prints per image, with a certificate of authenticity issued for each print.